Chimene hiding in exile in Burundi, wanted for theft of elephant meat

Former provincial minister for Manicaland, Mandiitawepi Chimene has reportedly fled to Burundi.

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

She was initially believed to be in Mozambique where she had run to when she got wind that she was wanted for crimes committed during her tenure as a government minister in former president Robert Mugabe’s government.

“We are told that she has fled to Burundi from Mozambique where she had initially fled to,’’ said a source.

Chimene’s property in the province is reportedly being guarded by members of the Zimbabwe National Army.

She fled fearing arrest by the new government led by Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Chimene was an ardent critic of Mnangagwa and would throw vitriol at him at will.

Meanwhile, the former provincial minister is facing criminal abuse of office charges after she allegedly commandeered elephant meat for her own consumption from Cecil Kop Nature Reserve in Mutare.

Michael Peter Hitschmann, the member in charge of Cecil Kop Nature Reserve filed two criminal abuse of office charges at Mutare Central Police Station last week against the outspoken Chimene under RRB 3396970 and 3396970 respectively.

Hitschmann, who is a member of the Wildlife Environment Zimbabwe Committee, in his self-recorded statement, said he was authorised by his committee to report the matter.

He said that two elephants were shot dead at the nature reserve and they were surprised that the embattled ex-minister demanded meat for personal use.

“On July 24 2017, two adult elephants were shot dead at Cecil Kop following a fatal attack on Support Unit Constable Dambe on July 18 2017. The carcasses of these elephants were then being processed to remove the meat for sale with all proceeds to go to Cecil Kop Nature Reserve as these elephants were their property,’’ Hitschmann said.

“I was advised by Dominic Mubvanyika [Parks and Wildlife Management Authority officer-in-charge] that Mandiitawepi Chimene was demanding a full truck load of elephant meat at no charge for her personal use and that she had instructed him to collect it immediately from Cecil Kop and deliver it to her. He did so at around 4:30pm on the same day, July 24.’’

Hitschmann said they had no choice but to comply with the order as she wielded so much power.

He claimed that the ex-provincial affairs minister acted wrongfully and prejudiced Zimbabwe of $1 800, being the value of the meat she took.

In the second charge, Hitschmann said Chimene threatened to distribute land for residential stands to Zanu PF youth supporters at the nature reserve claiming that it was wasted land.

He said Chimene made the remarks in August this year at the burial of a provincial hero in Mutare.

“The statement was false, inflammatory and she made this statement being fully aware that she had no authority or right to make such an offer since the land is legally leased for 99 years as a nature reserve and it is not available for housing,’’ he said.
The conservationist said the statement constituted abuse of office. – The Standard